The Governor in his regularly scheduled Coronavirus press conference briefing today talked about the increasing capacity of our healthcare providers, as well as other updates.

Before we get to those updates, I must stress the importance of following the guidance we are given.  We must do everything we can to fight this threat to our community and to our Commonwealth. This will not be easy, this will be a sacrifice like no other.  But together, we will overcome this.

As we are fighting this together, this may or will take a toll on many. We have to make sure we check on one another, especially our most vulnerable.  Please remember, if you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990.

If there is anything that I can do to help or if you know someone that is in need of help, do not hesitate to reach out to our office at 804-698-1051 or via email at DelHayala@house.virginia.gov.

The Governor's Update

The full press conference can be watched here. Please note that the Governor will be giving these press conferences via Facebook Live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (unless an urgent update requires the Governor to speak on an off press conference day), and they will take place at 2 pm. Some of the highlights from today’s press conference are as followed:

  • There are now 391 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia.
  • To bolster the amount of healthcare providers, the state will look at various measures such as reworking medical licensing procedures and recruiting medical students.
  • The Virginia Medical Reserve Core, whose membership currently stands at more than 8000 volunteers may be utilized. Take note, we will need volunteers.  If you are 18 or older, currently have or previously had a medical license, or currently are a medical student and are able to serve, go to www.vamrc.org to volunteer.
  • The Governor will sign another Executive Order tonight to direct hospitals to suspend all elective surgeries as part of our preparedness.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers has been asked to assess possible locations for the building of emergency hospital sites.
  • State parks are only available during the day.
  • Virginia is working to obtain federal dollars for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients.  
    • For more information on SNAP, such as eligibility, please visit this website here.

Additional Data and Information

  • The Governor has ordered one million surgical masks and 500K N95 masks and gowns
    • ​The first shipment from the National stockpile will come this week, and a second shipment will come in next week. Additionally, the Governor is working with manufacturers to find ways to procure more PPE supplies.
  • Virginia is working with DC and Maryland to share excess capacity of ventilators to areas that may experience a medical surge.
  • According to the Hospital Association.  Virginia has 18,547 licensed hospital beds.
    • Of those beds, 1,967 licensed beds and 1,762 staffed beds are intensive care unit beds-which is the type of bed that someone with a severe case of COVID-19 would likely need.
  • According to the VDH website: Virginia has a total of 4,470 individuals tested.
    • ​290 persons have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 45 of those individuals have been hospitalized.
    • 7 of those individuals have lost their lives to this virus.
  • The largest number of cases are in Fairfax with 46 individuals with COVID-19 followed by Arlington with 36 cases.

Governor's Executive Order on Businesses

The Governor has also issued an Executive Order (E.O.) on the closure of non-essential businesses as well as guidance on essential business operations that can be found here.

Please be sure to read the E.O. in its entirety, it has a number of items that were covered in today’s press conference.  Some of the highlights include:

  • The closure of dining and congregation areas. See #3 in the E.O for the full list. 
  • The closure of recreational and entertainment businesses such as theaters, concert halls, fitness centers..etc.  See #4 in the E.O. for the full list. 
  • Essential businesses may remain open. For example, Medical retailers, grocery stores, hardware stores..etc.  See #5 in the E.O. for the full list.   
  • Any brick and mortar retail business not listed in #5 may continue to operate but must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment. See #6 in the E.O. for the full list. 

Prince William County Information Center 

Our county will also be taking further precautions during this time:

  • Prince William County Schools, along with all of Virginia’s schools, will be closed for the remaining academic year.
  • School Age Child Care (SACC) will be closed from March 16 onward.
  • PWCS and the County will provide packaged breakfasts and lunches at select locations throughout the county to anyone under the age of 18. For a complete list of all to-go food locations and additional information please click here.
  • Online registration is now open for children who will enter kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year. Because of the COVID-19 shutdown, please note that the timeline for registration may take longer than usual. To register your child or for more information please click here.

Small Business - Emergency Loan Application

Virginia had submitted a request for aid from the United States Small Business Agency. This application has been approved. If your small business or non-profit is located in Virginia and it requires financial assistance during this situation, please visit the United States Small Business Agency Disaster Loan website here.

Image result for 2020 censusDon't Forget to Take the 2020 Census!

During this difficult time, we must not forget other necessary responsibilities we must complete as Americans. One very important duty, which only happens once every 10 years, is to fill out the Census. Not only is the information from the Census used for statistical reasons, it will be used for essential items such as allocation of federal funds, redistricting, and informing decisions on where to build and maintain important facilities such as schools and hospitals. Please visit the official Census website here to fill it out today!

 
Other Helpful Resources
  • Virginia Department of Health:  www.vdh.virginia.gov

  • State Employee Memo via the Governor: State Employee Memo

  • Prince William County Schools grab free to-go breakfasts/lunches. More information PWC Link

  • Inside Nova article on mobile testing can be found here

  • Unemployment funds for laid-off/furloughed workers: Virginia Employment Commission

  • Supporting our Workforce: "Frequently asked Questions for Workers Regarding COVID-19" document can be found here

  • Donate Blood to the Red Cross: We are facing a shortage of blood donations. The Red Cross has a number of sites across Virginia that are open and safe to visit. Site listing here.

  • Families who need food assistance can text FOOD or COMIDA to 877877. You can also visit the website of No Kid Hungry, the organization running this texting program, here.

  • Please take note of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act which will require certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

  • Virginia’s Department of Education has released its guidance to public schools regarding ensuring graduation for Virginia’s high school seniors this year. You can read more about this here.

  • Virginia's main website for all things related to COVID-19 can be found here.

Virtual Town Hall this Friday at 1 pm!

On Friday, March 27th at 1pm, I will be hosting my third virtual town hall to provide you updates on COVID-19. During this event, I will take questions! 

If you’d like to submit a question for me to answer, please fill in this Google form here. To access the town hall and for more information please take a look at the Virtual Town Hall Facebook Event.

My Contact Information

Email to: delhayala@house.virginia.gov, or call my office at: (804) 698-1051.

Stay up to date by signing up for newsletters: Newsletters

Please watch my social media and website for additional updates:

Facebook
Twitter
Website

In closing, I am here for you as is our Governor and our government agencies who are readily available to help during this tough time. It is important we prevent the spread for the safety of everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable.  In addition, let's focus on caring for one another and beating this virus together.

Sincerely,

Hala Ayala